1. Cost: Some of the mature and the developed ones are costly. The product itself costs quite a bit. Added to this, are the costs of consultation for implementation – studying the as-is status, identifying the gaps and making the necessary changes.

2. Time drawn: Implementation takes a lot of time. Often the implementation overruns the deadlines. Then there are changes in the implementation team in the interim leading to further delays.

3. Infrastructure: They require the appropriate hardware and maintenance of the hardware. Procurement of the hardware goes through its process of approvals and sanctions. Then it requires the support of the infrastructure or the systems admin function to ensure the maintenance.

The three factors above together contribute to organizations not implementing HRIS itself. First, they vet the different systems available. Each one has its advantages and disadvantages. Second, given the cost and time one feels uncomfortable in choosing one amongst the so many systems -what would happen if we make the wrong choice and the system does not take off after having spent so much.

But apart from the above operational issues there are more critical yet subtle issues.

4. Where is the value? – HRIS can be split into four parts – employee information, compensation & benefits, recruitment and the development parts (including the appraisals, training etc.). Evaluation needs to be done on one, the information flow and the intelligence or improvements that the systems may enable. Typically the first part i.e. information processing and flow works well for all the four HR sub systems. The workflows, rules, security, forms, UI, reports ensure that they work well. All the stakeholders get the information they want, approvals are handled correctly and controls are maintained. But then this is one part of the system. The other is the the core engine on which these work and what the core engine is supposed to do and how it does this. Take the case of compensation and benefits.

The core engine includes combination of statutory requirements (social security, tax deductions, contributions) and corporate rules (who should be paid how much, which component needs to be made how much). This core engine has the logic and provides the structure on which the compensation and benefits are calculated, governed and administered. Because of this (mostly) well laid out structure and logic the implementation of compensation and benefits systems are easier to implement and results easy to perceive. Expectations of the employee information and the recruitment system are mostly from the perspective of information flow. There is not much of intelligence – logic based processing expected or needed.

Now the the development parts of the HRIS which include the performance appraisal, training etc. are trickier. They can add value only if they are able to contribute to development of the employees. Development of the employees can happen only if the system enable two aspects of any development – diagnosis and prescription. Diagnosis of one’s potential, one’s capabilities, one’s performance. Prescription for what one’s needs to do to develop one’s capabilities, how the person can go about it, enabling and guiding the individual in this respect.

The development part of the IS fails because of this very reason – it is unable to play an effective role in the development by way of enabling diagnosis and prescription. The reason for this is because there are no standard rules (compare with the income tax rules). And when there are no rules there is no logic and when there is no logic no information system can be effective and so the IS fails as a development tool.

5. Complexity – When it comes to the development part of the system jargons are thrown in, different behavior from what is normally followed is expected, sometimes it is too analytical and sometimes too “MBA” type. Essentially, simplicity is lost – simplicity which connects with every employee at every level. And so the natural resistance creeps in making the IS ineffective.

For all these reasons the “development” parts of HRIS do not take off. BUT there is a desperate need for such a development system. Every organization and organization management and leadership desire to have a healthy development system in place. If we were to do that then we would need to set some rules for the development. We would need rules on profiling skills, proficiencies, roles, linkage between skills and roles, career development etc. 3D Talent Development System from http://www.trainingorbit.com attempts to address the issues mentioned above and create a system which help employers take their human capital to a higher level.

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